Congressional leaders have arrived at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama in an eleventh-hour effort to avert a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts.
David Espo and Jim Kuhnhenn
, December 28, 2012
Sen. John Hoeven was named today to the joint U.S. Senate-House Transportation conference committee, which gives him a seat at the table to press for his Keystone XL pipeline bill and another Hoeven measure involving the recycling of coal ash.
Congress approved a 90-day extension of federal funding for transportation projects Thursday, preventing potential delays in road construction and repair projects throughout North Dakota and the nation.
After quarreling for months, President Barack Obama and the top two Republicans in Congress expressed optimism Wednesday about finding a common jobs and energy agenda, prodded by political reality to show results in an election year.
House-Senate talks on renewing a payroll tax cut that delivers about $20 a week to the average worker yielded a tentative agreement Tuesday, with lawmakers hopeful of unveiling the pact Wednesday and sending the measure to President Barack Obama as early as this week.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress Tuesday that the president's new $3.8 trillion spending plan would impose new taxes on only 2 percent of the nation's wealthiest families and the alternative would be to seek more painful cuts in other government programs such as defense, Social Security and Medicare.
Republicans vowed Wednesday to reverse President Barack Obama's new policy on birth control, lambasting the rule that religious schools and hospitals provide employees with free contraceptives as an "unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country."
In its budget proposal next month, the Obama administration will urge lawmakers to revisit the failed attempt by a congressional supercommittee to cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, the White House says.
President Barack Obama is promoting his efforts to make government more efficient and to persuade companies to bring jobs back to the U.S. from overseas. He rolled out those election-year ideas this past week and used his radio and Internet address Saturday to urge Congress and the private sector to get on board.
President Barack Obama and Congress are starting the election year locked in a tussle over a proposed 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Texas that will force the White House to make a politically risky choice between two key Democratic constituencies. Some unions say the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs. Environmentalists fear it could lead to an oil spill disaster.
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